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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Flecha de Tenamaxtli: Tucson to Phoenix: 165 Miles

Flecha de Temaxtli: Tucson to Phoenix: 165 Miles
by Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

The last time we ran from Tucson to Phoenix, students from the Social Justice and Education Project of Tucson's Mexican American Studies Department determined to defend their besieged department by running in 115 degree heat. That run succeeded virtually at the time we arrived at the capitol.

However since then, HB 2281 has been passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor. It was also subjected to an independent audit -- which found in favor of MAS-TUSD. That did not stop the state superintendent from both ruling MAS-TUSD out of compliance with state law. After a kangaroo hearing which supported Huppenthal's position, rather than contest the farce, instead, TUSD complied and suspended the MAS Department.

This past week, two powerful events coincided in Arizona, to protest the suspension of MAS-TUSD, along with the banishment of the MAS-TUSD curriculum and the banning of the books and its teaching materials.

The Librotraficante caravan has brought both authors and banned books back to Arizona.

The other event was a run from Tucson to Phoenix. This time. This time, it might have gotten into the high 80s, but we ran 165 miles, not 120.
                                           Joaquin Murrietta Park

The superintendent was given a document that he most assuredly does not understand. He was given a document re the Doctrine of Discovery... the subject of this year's UN Permanent Forum on the rights of Indigenous Issues. (More on this in next few weeks). The point of the run was to serve notice to the state that the issue of the suspension of Mexican American Studies is beyond a local issue.

HB 2281  supposedly makes it illegal to teach in Arizona schools. However, in fact, it violates virtually every section of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including 8 additional international human rights treaties.

The run this year began from The Aztlan Boxing gym with a teach-in about the Flecha de Tenamxtli, then proceeding (via a walk/caminata) to TUSD Headquarters.
                                                                 TUSD Headquarters
Streets of Tucson
Streets of Tucson

                                                                   Early morning Day 2
Mayra and Daniel
As is customary on Indigenous runs, protocols normally call for relay running. For this run, runners ran mostly mile-legs from Tucson to the town of Marana, where they spend the night in the Yoem pueblo -- a Yaqui town that has been there since the beginning of the 20th century. On the first day, the walkers/runners covered 28 miles.

The next day, 77 miles were covered, crossing the O'otham  Nation. There, severall O'otham runners ran with us, winding up on Tonatierra ceremonial grounds.
Arriving in Marana

Netta and Alex, Calpolli Teoxicalli

children's run

Jose with Flecha de Tenamaxtli

Running on soft earth

O'otham runners joining run
3rd day in desert

children leg of run

Representing UNIDOS

Day 3

On the lookout

In Phoenix, last leg

Ceremonial staffs in front of Dept of Education

Site of Native American Caucus
As with the 2009 run, the story has already been written, though the words will follow in the next few weeks. The run was powerful... and the message for Mr. Huppenthal? We have been here thousands of years... and we will continue to be here long after he, Horne and Dr. Pedicone are long gone.

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